Prisoner voting saga
DOI link for Prisoner voting saga
Prisoner voting saga book
The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR ) in the case of Hirst (No 2) v United Kingdom presents a major challenge to the Court's legitimacy. The ECtHR had ruled that the blanket ban on voting by convicted prisoners is a violation of Article 3 of Protocol 1 to the ECHR. The judgment contained very powerful dissenting opinions and did not properly reflect the lack of the common European approach to prisoner voting which existed. This chapter explores asks is why the judgment in Hirst ended up being so problematic and what lessons the Court can learn from it. It briefly outlines the Court's jurisprudence on prisoner voting and examines the roots of the problem, arguing that there are some underlying reasons why the judgment was challenging. In the meantime the Court delivered a number of unanimous judgments reiterating its stance that automatic and blanket prisoner voting bans are incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.